Two former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champions almost pro wrestled each other at one of the biggest wrestling shows of the year until a Triller boxing bout derailed those plans.
That’s a sentence that can be written in 2021, and chances are there will be more variations on it moving forward as various combat sports and combat sports-adjacent promotions snap up ex-UFC fighters for their events.
In this case it was former Heavyweight champions Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos, whose trilogy fight series back in 2011-2013 kicked off the FOX broadcast era of UFC history. In their first meeting, dos Santos knocked Velasquez out clean in little more than one minute. Thirteen months later, Velasquez would grind out dos Santos in a 25-minute decision. A third fight in 2013 had Cain battering Junior and dropping him on his head to finish the fight in the fifth round.
Velasquez is done cage fighting these days, but does have a nice little side gig going in professional wrestling. His run with Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide led him to a stint in the WWE that was cut short because of “friction” with Brock Lesnar, according to Velasquez. As for dos Santos, he’s still entertaining real fights, but has also been showing up on All Elite Wrestling as part of American Top Team owner Dan Lambert’s crossover crew.
So, we shouldn’t be too surprised that someone came up with the idea of having Velasquez and dos Santos pro wrestle ... and it could have come together next weekend (Dec. 4, 2021) at Triplemania Regia II if not for scheduling conflicts.
I had heard this, too. The pitch was to fly dos Santos and Dan Lambert down to Mexico and JDS would have started a storyline in AAA with his old UFC rival Cain Velasquez. Would have been fun, but dos Santos couldn’t do it https://t.co/bteYb9tf5k— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) November 27, 2021
For those who don’t know, Triplemania is AAA’s big annual “not Wrestlemania for legal reasons, but you get the idea” event. Unfortunately, dos Santos was already booked for a Triller “Night of Heavyweights” boxing event on that week.
No, he isn’t boxing for them (yet). But, we imagine you will catch him in the commentary booth in a similar capacity to when he commentated the Vitor Belfort vs. Evander Holyfield boxing match alongside Donald Trump, which is another sentence that’s so 2021 it hurts.
We’ll let you know if plans start swirling for Velasquez and dos Santos to fight again in the squared circle.